Feature - Building BRIDGEs between Europe and China
Grid middleware has become a pervasive e-science technology and Chinese middleware is no exception, with technologies such as CNGrid GOS and CROWN Grid contributing to e-science efforts across the globe.
Yet one of the remaining challenges in grid computing is interoperability, and more sustainable international co-operation must be accomplished to align middleware developments on a global scale.
The EU ICT BRIDGE project (Transcontinental Workflows for Simulation, Engineering, and Design on heterogeneous Grid Platforms) is addressing these challenges using three case studies of interoperation between Chinese middleware CNGrid GOS and European middleware GRIA in the aerospace, meteorology and pharmaceutical sectors.
Protein docking for disease control
The first case study is a distributed protein docking workflow that combines the results from Chinese and European docking tools.
"The major innovation in the BRIDGE project is the combined analysis of more than one docking tool to select drug candidates transparently provisioned to the scientist using different middleware," explains Mike Boniface of IT Innovation in the UK. "Four docking tools are being used: two from Europe [FlexX, AutoDock], and two from China [DOCK, GAsDOCK]."
Other case studies involve implementing a distributed workflow for the optimization of wing design, and providing a distributed retrieval system for weather prediction.
To effectively integrate all three application case studies, the BRIDGE grid interoperation infrastructure has been divided into several development phases, aiming to connect the European grid middleware, GRIA 5.1, with the Chinese grid middleware, CNGrid GOSv2.1 (Grid Operating System).
Future work will focus on enhancements to the BRIDGE grid interoperation framework using federated security and trans-continental service level agreements.
Continuing to build new bridges
BRIDGE is just one of a number of EU projects working with partners from China to drive the development of grids.
For example, EchoGRID, or the European and Chinese Co-operation on Grid, aims to establish a priority-based framework and clear agenda for future co-operation.
This roadmap will set out an agenda for the next three, five and ten years, indicating future grid research perspectives for academic and business communities.
EchoGRID is co-ordinated by ERCIM and partnered by European and Chinese businesses and research institutions, including the Chinese Academy of Science (ICT & CNIC), Beihang University,
- Stephanie Parker, EchoGRID